Archive for Thursday, August 28, 2003

Death is second of summer for victim’s family

August 28, 2003

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It was to be a short errand, just to pick up a prescription for Bubba, her yellow Labrador retriever.

But as Judith Vellucci was leaving SuperTarget at 3201 S. Iowa at 6:19 p.m. Tuesday, the car she was driving was slammed into by another driven by a fleeing suspect.

Vellucci, a 56-year-old neo-natal nurse practitioner at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., was later pronounced dead at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

Police say a modified street-racing car driven by a 19-year-old Lee's Summit, Mo., man slammed squarely into the driver's side of Vellucci's Pontiac Grand Prix.

For Vellucci's family, it was the second loss of the summer. Her husband died of a stroke three months ago, said Ryan McDowell, who is engaged to marry the Velluccis' daughter, Stephanie.

Judith Vellucci, known as Judy, was originally from Johnson County and moved to Lawrence about 14 years ago, McDowell said. She lived in the 2900 block of Pebble Lane -- about three-quarters of a mile from the intersection where the crash happened.

An avid reader, Vellucci had been taking graduate-level nursing courses at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. McDowell described her as someone who liked to take on household projects -- such as remodeling rooms -- and was easygoing and calm.

"She had to be for her job," McDowell said. "She was very professional about her job, and she loved her job."

Tom McCormally, a spokesman at Children's Mercy, said Vellucci worked at the hospital since February 1995. She provided contracted care through Children's Mercy for newborns at St. Joseph Hospital, Kansas City Mo., McCormally said.

"There's a lot of people here in shock and people who are grieving," he said. "I can tell you she was a valuable member of the Children's Mercy family."

McDowell suggested donations to Children's Mercy as memorials to Vellucci. Funeral arrangements are pending at D.W. Newcomer's Sons Johnson County chapel in Overland Park.

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